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Event review: The Secrets of Syntax by Frances Peck

Written by Eva van Emden; copy edited by Rebecca A. Coates

On April 22, a roomful of editors got together to talk about syntax—the order of words in a sentence. This may seem like an obscure topic to spend a day thinking about, but consider how many memorable sayings stick in your mind because of a magic combination of word order, rhythm, and repetition. Would we be able to quote the sentence “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” if it didn’t use rhythm and repetition—syntactic elements—so effectively?

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